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June 6, 2023

Hiring Summer Staff? Don’t Shrug Off Your Background Checks!

When we think of temporary or seasonal hiring, most of us visualize trying to find employees during the busy holiday season. However, many industries hire additional employees to cover their business during the summer months. These may be (but aren’t limited to):

  • Restaurants
  • Farms
  • Tourist attractions
  • Hotels
  • Summer camps
  • Daycare centers

If you’re an HR pro tasked with hiring summer staff, read on for everything you need to know regarding their background checks.

Why You Need to Background Screen Seasonal Staff

It’s tempting to hire extra summer staff without conducting a background check. After all, they’re only going to be there for a few months, right?

While they may not be permanent, seasonal employees should be screened just as stringently. Several good reasons are:

  • They pose just as much of a threat to the workplace as permanent staff. Drug-abusing or violent staff, even if they’re temporary, are not appealing additions to your workforce.
  • They may misrepresent themselves regarding the experience and/or education they claim, which could cause them to not perform well.
  • They have no company loyalty. While long-term employees may respect their employer, seasonal hires might not feel the same. They may be more inclined to pilfer products or sneak cash out of the register, both of which hurt your bottom line.

In addition, companies that cater to vulnerable populations like children and the elderly frequently hire during the summer. It’s especially crucial for these employers to conduct thorough background screening, regardless of the person’s length of employment.

How Screening Summer Staff Differs from Permanent Employee Background Screening

While temporary summer hires must be screened as thoroughly as permanent employees, you should be aware there’s a key element that’s not the same.

Hiring seasonal employees is more time focused.

While employers can go back and forth for weeks with applicants trying to land a permanent role, the window’s much smaller with summer help. If you take too long, the responsible, experienced candidates will get hired by someone else.

What to do? Make sure you partner with a background screening company that has technology integrated into their process.

You should be able to:

  • Order and receive your reports online.
  • Access a mobile-friendly way to communicate with applicants.
  • Use instant screening products to hasten the process.
  • Minimize manual, time-consuming work via automation.

Finding ways to cut down your hiring time is essential for summer hiring, especially this season when finding employees is still a challenging prospect.

Important Tips for Conducting a Seasonal Background Screening Process

Running background checks on your seasonal hires is similar to your permanent-hire screening program. First, consider the job role and focus your screening around what is fair and relevant to the position. Second, collect the applicant’s authorization that they agree to be the subject of a background check. Finally, if you decide in whole or part not to hire a person because of information in their background report, you must follow the required Adverse Action process every single time to stay in compliance.

Here are some of the background screening components to include in your report.

  • Criminal records search. Performing a county criminal and a National Criminal Database search helps you uncover recent convictions in an applicant’s past that may make them too risky to hire.
  • Social security number trace. Making sure applicants are who they say is vital, even if they are temporary summer hires. A social trace gives you any other names (aliases) associated with the social security number. This search may uncover geographic areas you weren’t originally planning to search (a convicted criminal may omit an address that ties them to a crime, for example).
  • Sex offender registry. A report that includes information from all 50 states regarding registered sex offenders is an integral part of background screening, especially if the person will be working with or near vulnerable populations.
  • Drug screening. Many issues stem from drug-abusing employees. They’re more likely to be late, miss work, and cause accidents than their drug-abstaining co-workers. Adding drug testing to your seasonal new hire checklist minimizes the risk these people pose to your staff and the people you serve. Keep in mind that drug screening technology has evolved tremendously. For example, there’s now on-site saliva testing that returns drug use results in minutes. These screening tools help keep your workplace safe and cut hiring times, too.
  • Motor vehicle records (MVR) search. If an employee will be operating a vehicle during any part of the job, reviewing their driving history, and verifying that their license is valid is a must-do. An MVR is one of the most important background checks if your new hire will be operating a company vehicle like a bus or van as part of their position. You also need to run an MVR search even if the employee will only be picking up lunch now and then or making deliveries once a week.
  • Employment verification search. If your role requires previous experience, some candidates will exaggerate or completely make up a positive work history. If you fail to check the information, your company could be stuck with a new employee who can’t perform the job tasks. Order an employment verification for the past two years, at a minimum. The results will give you insight into the applicant’s true experience.

Screening your company’s temporary summer hires may seem like overkill at first, but it’s necessary if you want to manage risk and keep your workplace secure. By using these tips, you can still fill your open positions fast and be fully staffed.

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